It may seem paradoxical to say that those who would like to see the Greek heritage of Christianity altogether eradicated, and who consider the import of Greek thought into Christianity a corruption, really hold the same opinion as those who only seek to eradicate Christianity as a destroyer of philosophy and classical culture. Yet, both beliefs rest on the same assumption that philosophy and the Gospels are incompatible, somewhat separated by an unbridgeable gulf. In a way, they continue to reflect Tertullian’s words, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” But as we saw, this is a misunderstanding of what philosophy itself is. This is not the view that prevailed in the Greek speaking-world, and even in the early days of Latin Christianity. This is why also Christianity could be absorbed by foreign cultures and be given a local flavor, without fear of endangering its essential message. The most telling and concrete illustration of this is the work of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. It is not surprising that the whole issue revolved around language, since it is language that conveys the innermost meanings of a particular culture, and that is the source of all philosophy. By allowing the Slavs to worship in their own language, the two brothers, who had an intimate understanding of the meaning of culture, implicitly acknowledged the central role played by culture–a role never destroyed, but rather elevated by faith.
(1) It must be obvious here that the rationalism of the ancients was something quite different from what we understand by this word today. Far from being a scientific rationalism that would make “scientific reason” triumph over “religious superstition,” Greek rational philosophy aimed at removing all that was deemed improper to man’s nature, particularily material things, and thus lead him back to his true nature. It goes without saying that for most philosophers, man’s true nature was realized by a return to his original divine state. Even Epicurus, who asserted that gods had no interest in human affairs if they existed at all, was interested in achieving the unimpassioned life; his philosophy was a solution among others, and should not be considered the triumph of a modern-style reason over superstition.
(2) The background picture of the world stemming from the Old and New Testament continues to inform our modes of thought today, even unconsciously. Thus, all modern science seems to assume and take it for granted that the world has a beginning in time (the Big bang theory, the origins of life, etc.). What conclusions would science give us if it simply assumed that all matter was in fact eternal? Far from being objective truth, science also tacitely abides by this world picture.